A week after the Davidson County Board of Commissioners offered its approval for the development of a proposed industrial park in Linwood, privately-funded Davidson Progress Inc. on Sept. 17 approved a resolution to encourage the continued participation of community leaders.
Robin Team, newly-elected president of Davidson Progress, and Steve Googe, director of the Davidson County Economic Development Commission, said support of elected officials was paramount.
"I think it is the single most important economic development initiative that has ever been put before the citizens of this county," Team said, "and will have the most impact of anything that has ever been done in this county from an economic development perspective. This site has been referred to as a megasite for 10 years. I have heard the folks at the North Carolina Department of Commerce say that it is absolutely the best industrial site in our state.
"To put together a thousand acres, it takes a lot of horsepower in the beginning to get it going."
Team’s belief is rooted in preliminary estimates given by Googe, who says his mission is to increase the tax base by $2 billion, while providing for the financial welfare of its citizens with the addition of 9,600 jobs.
According to Googe, Team has successfully spearheaded a collaborative vision to back the project. The proposed site for the park is off Interstate 85 near Belmont Road.
"These guys are so good at what they do," Googe said of Team and the individuals helping to back the project. "When we formed Davidson Progress, which was kind of a joint effort between the two chambers, we went on a trip to look at other communities. Robin and [EDC chair] Tommy Hedrick and a lot of the guys who were on that were involved were on that bus trip. I met Robin on that trip. He's been very successful."
Phase I of the proposed arrangement calls for landowners, the EDC, City of Lexington, Davidson Progress and other partners to form a LLC, which would be under the control of Davidson Progress. These entities would contribute assets they possess, with everyone sharing in the future profits based on their contribution.
"We feel like it is incumbent upon this project to bring the municipal governments in as the funding source," Team said, "because their goals are synonymous with the goals of Davidson Progress and, quite frankly, synonymous with the citizenry of our community. Our goal is to bring as many high-paying jobs and as big an increase in the tax base as we possibly can.
"This is going to be a completely open process. Once we have the LLC document drafted, we're going to shout it from the mountaintops. We don't want anyone to feel left out."
Staff Writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 888-3575, or firstname.lastname@example.org.